“I brushed my hand over the crushed grass and examined the nearly invisible footprint beneath.”

Opening line of Hereafter by Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund began this fairytale series with Always, the tale of Lance and Felicia’s rescue of three princesses when their parents are killed as the invading army takes over. Two books later, the reader gets to rejoin the couple, 18 years on as their adoptive daughter, Emmeline, is forced to accept her destiny as a princess.

Continuing from the second book, Foremost, the ruling king’s son, Ethelrex, is set the task by his father to find and marry Emmeline before her sisters’ army invades to retake the land. An impressive warrior, Rex achieves his goal and Emmeline finds herself amidst the enemy and trying to find an escape. In their long journey back to Rex’s home, Emmeline is surprised to find Rex isn’t the awful man she anticipated him to be. Rex is equally surprised by Emmeline’s sass and bravery.

As in the first three books, it’s full of adventure and excitement. My favourite part of this book is the way it reminds us that people are often more than one dimension and it’s worth getting to know them before judging them.

It is a wonderful conclusion to a great young adult (but enjoyable to any adult) series. These characters are so interesting, I would happily spend more book-time with all of them! Christian principles are gently instilled and the importance of love, sacrifice and kindness highlighted. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale!

From the back cover:

The third lost princess. The final key to the treasure. And a battle for the throne.

Growing up deep in the forest as a poor charcoal burner’s daughter, Emmeline has always known her identity as a princess of Mercia, and she lives in fear of being caught and killed. When her adopted father returns from town with news regarding the imminence of war, Emmeline has no wish to join the rebellion against King Ethelwulf.

Prince Ethelrex, the strongest warrior in the land, has done everything he can to prove his loyalty to his father, including searching for the last lost princess. When Ethelrex finally captures Emmeline, the king commands his son to marry the princess in order to win the support of the people and undermine the rebellion.

Forced into marriage, Emmeline has one goal—to escape. But Ethelrex takes his marriage vows seriously, including his promise to love and cherish his wife, and has no intention of letting Emmeline get away. As the battle for the throne rages, will the prince be able to win the battle for Emmeline’s heart?

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Jody Hedlund. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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